A Charlestown Poem in Co. Mayo

A Charlestown Poem by Noirin A Gannon, Charlestown Librarian


Amid the crisp Mayo skies
On a cold December’s day
A Town still quiet new emerges
There you stand with many facades
Like leaves from a story ready to be told

Dotted on your landscapes are fortesses
Where hunter-gathers came
With herd and kin
Engraving a life that has, now since past
Traces of ancient souls
Lie upon the plains of Barnacahogue

In a graveyard at Tample lies the tomb of Costelloe
Dressed by well and relic of Saint Attracta
The abbey of Urlaur now destroyed
Once echoed with monks at evening prayers
Who chanted songs to a rising sun

Reminders of history lie hidden within
The very heart of you
Recollections of times past
Where famine ravaged the limbs of Ireland
And took the salt of mother earth
Tragedy scorned you
Through mines at Maypole
Men of Charlestown lost their lives
Mothers grieved and beat their breasts
For native sons they would see no more

The old town hall stands in glory
Proclaiming a time of finery
Names of Healy and Coogan
Grace it’s ledges now
Documentation upon shelves of Ash
Tell of your unknown story
While Names of the ascendancy
Pay homage to you
From their resting places
At Tample, Bushfield and Carracastle.